Saturday’s Den: Clearing out a cluttered mind……..

13) Legendary actor James Caan passed away this week, at age 82. What a tremendous career he had. Here are my favorite James Can movies/TV shows:

— Brian’s Song— First time I ever cried during a movie; I was 10 years old.
— The Gambler— 1974 movie was little bit ahead of its time- 40 years later, they remade it with Mark Wahlberg as the professor with a gambling problem.
— Honeymoon in Vegas— One of his poker buddies was Jerry Tarkanian.
— The Program— He graduated from playing in Brian’s Song to being a coach here.
— Las Vegas— He ran the Montecito casino in 88 episodes.

One of the best-ever actors. RIP, sir. 

12) I think the NHL does its amateur draft the best; just about the whole league is there: GM’s, draft prospects, and they move the draft all over North America.

Arizona Coyotes had the 3rd pick Thursday night; when they announced their pick, they had 13 people on stage. GM’s talk to each other on the arena floor, discussing trades. Its like a multi-billion dollar fantasy league.

NFL Draft has gotten better since they started moving it around the country, but imagine if all the GM’s were in one place during the draft? The drama would be excellent.  

11) People talk too much about who is going to win MVP in every sport, but to me, it is very difficult for an MVP to come from a losing team.

Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner played for bad teams in Pittsburgh; he told the story of his contract negotiations, when they told him “We finished last with you, we can finish last without you”

How can an MVP be on a bad team? I understand that Shohei Ohtani is doing things that NO ONE (including Babe Ruth) has ever done, so change the award to Player of the Year and then Ohtani wins every year. Most Valuable infers the team the MVP played for was a winning team. 

10) Seattle’s Marco Gonzales beat Toronto 8-3 Thursday, throwing 88 pitches in 6.2 IP; he is only the second pitcher this season to throw 6+ innings, while not walking anyone or striking anyone out. Boston’s Garrett Whitlock did it against Cincinnati June 1.

9) Gerrit Cole has pitched in five New York at Boston games, big games for both teams. His ERA in those games is 7.13. 

8) Mets are retiring Keith Hernandez’ number 17 Saturday; they retired Jerry Koosman’s 36 last year, When are they going to retire Dwight Gooden’s number 16? Long overdue. 

7) Oklahoma City Thunder is betting favorite to win the Las Vegas Summer League, but if they decide to pull the plug on Josh Giddey or Chet Holmgren’s participation, their goose is cooked, and sometimes that happens.

Especially 2nd-year players; teams know what they have, and they might want to take a look at other, younger guys, Listen to TV and read a lot; it’ll help you make smarter bets. 

6) San Francisco Giants are 5-14 in games where winning run scores from 7th inning on. 

5) Reds 2, Rays 1 (10)— Cincinnati wins on a walk-off balk, just the 23rd walk-off balk in the last 100 years. 

4) College hoop tip-off tournament in Fort Myers in November: 

Marquette-Mississippi State……..Georgia Tech-Utah

3) Angels released OF Juan Lagares, who then bolted to Korea, where he will get $495,000 to play the rest of the season in the KBO. 

2) Random trivia: all-time record for points in a Las Vegas summer game: in 2009, Anthony Morrow scored 47 points in a game for Golden State.

1) Every kid in America who plays high school basketball should watch the NBA Summer League for a while the next 10 days. There are GREAT basketball players who struggle to make an NBA roster. To play in college and beyond, you need to great at one thing, preferably more than one thing, but definitely great at one thing.

After you watch summer league for a while, go outside and work on your game; a lot. Work on your dribbling, shooting— be great dribbling with both hands. Get stronger, faster, but in this day and age, shooting is marketable. Work A LOT on becoming a great shooter.

Sindarius Thornwell led South Carolina to the Final Four in 2017; since then, he’s played in 160 NBA games for three different teams, averaging 10.8 minutes/game. Last year, he played pro ball over in Germany. He is a great basketball player, but is he still great enough to make a roster in the NBA?

This summer, Thornwell is on the Chicago Bulls’ summer league team, trying to impress a team so they’ll invite him to training camp. I’m sure that Germany is a fine country, but nothing like being on an NBA roster. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.